HP trimming more than expected
Hewlett Packard's massive restructuring is claiming an additional 2,000 jobs, bringing the total to 29,000 workers who will be trimmed through 2014 in a combination of early retirements and layoffs.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday, the Palo Alto computer giant did not explain the additional cuts, but much of that increase is attributed by insiders to more employees than expected signing up for an early retirement plan. The plan is open to U.S. employees whose combined age and years of service equals 65 years or more.
About 8,500 employees are taking early retirement, the company said in the filing. Most will leave the company on Aug. 31. HP is paying out lump sum benefits of five to 14 months salary depending on years of service. Another 3,800 were laid off in the last quarter.
Employees taking early retirement can continue health coverage at active employee contribution rates for two years,
The downsizing was announced at the end of May by CEO Meg Whitman as part of a streamlining of the company, which has run into competitive headwinds aggravated by some acquisitions over the past few years that haven't panned out. The workforce trimming affects nearly every department and the layoffs and buyouts come to about 8 percent of HP's workforce.
Part of the streamlining involves consolidating units in the company's lackluster business services division and eliminating 8,000 positions. A big part of that operation was acquired with Texas-based EDS, which HP bought in 2008.
Solar panel installations jump, powered by utilities
The installed base of solar panels jumped 45 percent nationwide to 742 megawatts, with California and Arizona leading the market.
Much of the growth was fueled by the completion of more than 20 large solar power plant projects in Arizona, California and other key states, according to a report released today by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Utility installations accounted for nearly 478 of the 742 megawatts, according to the report.
"The price of solar continues to come down, and utilities are turning more and more to solar," said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM research.
The installation figures also include those on homes and businesses as well as much larger, utility-scale power plants.
The report also found that in the residential market, third-party ownership models accounted for 70 percent of residential installations. Bay Area companies like SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity have led the way, offering consumers a way to go solar with no-money-down via leases or power purchase agreements. San Jose-based SunPower (SPWRA), which makes its own solar panels, has also gotten into the leasing game.
"In markets where third-party ownership is an option, it quickly becomes the preferred option," said Kann.
Hacker attacks web hosting service Go Daddy
A hacker took down the web hosting service Go Daddy (godaddy.com) Monday, apparently shutting down its servers and the accounts and e-mails of thousands of users.
The hacker announced the attack on Twitter, signing his tweets Anonymous Own3r.
"I'm taking godaddy down because well i'd like to test how the cyber security is safe and for more reasons that i cannot talk now," Anonymous Ow3r tweeted.
Go Daddy tweeted that it was working on the problem, and by late afternoon had restored some service. Go Daddy is one of the largest web hosting services.
In more hacking news, a Florida mobile publishing company says its files, and not the FBI's, were hacked by the group that released Apple (AAPL) user identification codes last week, claiming they were obtained from an FBI laptop.
The codes actually came from BlueToad, a small Florida company that hosts publications and creates mobile apps for its clients, Reuters reported. AntiSec, an affiliate of the hacker group Anonymous, has claimed responsibility for releasing the codes.
"We want to apologize, announce what happened and set the record straight," Paul DeHart, chief executive officer of BlueToad, told Reuters.
He said the company quickly realized that its files had been compromised after the hackers announced the release of the material on Sept. 3. There were fewer than 2 million user identification codes released, not the 12 million claimed by AntiSec, he told Reuters.
An FBI spokesman said BlueToad indeed appears to have been where the group got the user ids.
The codes are assigned to Apple products such as iPhones and iPads and are used by mobile applications and gaming networks to identify individual users.
Microsoft to raise quarterly dividend by 15 percent
Some analysts are predicting that Microsoft will raise its quarterly dividend by three cents to 23 cents a share at its annual meeting this month.
The company is sitting on $63 billion in cash and short-term assets, $54 billion of which is held and can't be repatriated to the U.S. without facing taxation.
Not every analyst is predicting a 15 percent increase, Bloomberg noted. An analyst at Goldman Sachs is forecasting a two cent, or 10 percent boost, it said.
The Redmond, Wash. software giant has raised its dividend in each of the past two years.
Silicon Valley tech stocks
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 32.40 or 1.03 percent to 3,104.02
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: down 52.35, or 0.39 percent to 13,253.98.
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 8.84 or 0.61 percent to 1,429.08.
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services.